Hardballers drop lead against Panthers

The Spartans’ Tal Glass takes on Prep hitters in the first inning Wednesday. - DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo
The Spartans’ Tal Glass takes on Prep hitters in the first inning Wednesday.
— image credit: DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo

Prep scores seven runs in seventh, leaving the game knotted 8-8 at dusk.

Spring break has never looked so good for the Bainbridge baseball team right now.

After losing to Bishop Blanchet 4-1 last Friday, the Spartans rebounded to defeat the Cleveland Eagles 18-4 Monday, but lost an 8-1 lead to the Seattle Prep Panthers Wednesday, resulting in an 8-8 tie when the game was suspended due to darkness.

Bainbridge played the Prep game without head coach Jayson Gore and catcher Taurean Yamada, who were serving suspensions after being thrown out of Monday’s game. Yamada was ejected for wearing inappropriate jewelry, and Gore for arguing with the umpire.

The contest cruised right along until the seventh, when the Spartans’ fortunes took a sudden 180.

Zach Peach was on the mound to try and close it out, but gave up walks and two runs to narrow the Bainbridge lead to 8-3.

Matt Frazee came in to pitch with one out, but gave up a grand slam. Prep eventually tied the score on a base hit, but Frazee struck out a Prep batter for the second out and got a break when catcher Adam Beck’s passed ball didn’t go deep enough, enabling Frazee to tag out the runner from third for the merciful third out.

Frazee felt the strike zone had gotten too small.

“He put the zone up a little bit, so we had to leave fastballs up in the zone,” he said. “Peach was walking guys, but it wasn’t his fault. I came in and I had to leave fastballs up, and we all saw what happened. Those balls went all over the place.”

The Spartans still had several chances to win, but couldn’t capitalize.

Kaukia Peloti just missed a home run in his at-bat, leading off the bottom of the seventh, and first baseman Robbie Stevenson walked, but Josh Truan popped the ball up on a bunt attempt. A single by Michael Heald wasn’t deep enough for Peloti to score, and he was tagged out at home.

Frazee kept Prep off the board in the eighth thanks to an outstanding grab by centerfielder Cameron Wagner.

The Spartans set themselves up to win when third baseman Brenden Gent smashed a ball into the gap and landed on second.

They loaded the bases as Frazee was intentionally walked and C.J Hall was hit by a pitch, but a suicide squeeze failed.

Bain­bridge left the sacks full as leftfielder Michael Heald hit into a fielder’s choice.

“We had three opportunities to win the game,” Frazee said. “We just didn’t get the job done. It was just disappointing to see three missed opportunities to win the game.”

Assistant coach Jon Brandt agreed.

“We had quite a few opportunities to win the game, but with bunts and squeezes, we just didn’t execute,” he said. “And it got us.”

The teams finished the game yesterday at Prep before starting the next game.

A good story that came out of Monday’s contest was Cameron Gidari, who entered the game and got a solid single and eventually scored.

The interesting part about that hit is he wasn’t supposed to get one, as he was cut from the team during tryouts in February – after being cut last year, and the year before that, and the year before that.

“I’ve always loved baseball,” Gidari said. “I’ve always wanted to become part of this program.”

He got his wish when Gore asked him to be the scorer and a team assistant.

“I’ve never quit on something I like to do, but I was never really good at it,” Gidari said. “It’s just something that I like to play.”

Gidari said that getting cut his freshman year was a “wakeup call” and motivated him to improve so he could be on the team.

Gore said kids who get cut their first two years usually don’t return.

“I’ve been involved with this program on Bainbridge Island for eight years and I’ve never met a kid with as big a heart as this guy,” he said. “He absolutely loves the game of baseball, he loves these kids and he loves being part of the program.”

“A big reason why I’m on the team is because the other guys really wanted me on the team,” Gidari said. “More than anything, I love the team mentality that we have. We’re all a big family. We’re really good friends with each other. It makes coming out every day a lot of fun.”

He won’t be around to capitalize on the moment, as he left Friday to go to France for two weeks.

Bainbridge plays Chief Sealth next Friday.

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